End of life care

IN RESPONSE to my criticism of the qualifying criteria and the process of medical certification set out in the Assisted Suicide Bill, Peter Warren has referred me to the accompanying policy memorandum and the explanatory notes (Letters, 23 December). I have read these again and I find no cause to change my original opinion that the process is flawed.

This is not the place to enter a detailed argument about the provisions of the bill. I would encourage readers to consult these documents on the Scottish Parliament website and judge for themselves whether the bill would be a worthy addition to our laws. In my judgment it would not.

However carefully worded the bill might be, once the principle that medical practitioners refrain from being involved in deliberately ending a human life under their care is breached, something changes in society. It is not a change I wish to see.

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Mr Warren mentioned the recently announced review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP). This is welcome, although I believe the LCP is an excellent tool, provided it is used by well-trained, well-resourced personnel in a team setting and centred on the patient’s welfare. If we are serious about good end of life care, we have to face up to the expensive resource implications.


Craiglockhart Grove